Biomechanical analysis of gait waveform data: exploring differences between shod and barefoot running in habitually shod runners

Gait Posture. 2017 Oct;58:274-279. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


The aim of this study was to utilise one-dimensional statistical parametric mapping to compare differences between biomechanical and electromyographical waveforms in runners when running in barefoot or shod conditions. Fifty habitually shod runners were assessed during overground running at their current 10-km race running speed. Electromyography, kinematics and ground reaction forces were collected during these running trials. Joint kinetics were calculated using inverse dynamics. One-dimensional statistical parametric mapping one sample t-test was conducted to assess differences over an entire gait cycle on the variables of interest when barefoot or shod (p<0.05). Only sagittal plane differences were found between barefoot and shod conditions at the knee during late stance (18-23% of the gait cycle) and swing phase (74-90%); at the ankle early stance (0-6%), mid-stance (28-38%) and swing phase (81-100%). Differences in sagittal plane moments were also found at the ankle during early stance (2, 4-5%) and knee during early stance (5-11%). Condition differences were also found in vertical ground reaction force during early stance between (3-10%). An acute bout of barefoot running in habitual shod runners invokes temporal differences throughout the gait cycle. Specifically, a co-ordinative responses between the knee and ankle joint in the sagittal plane with a delay in the impact transient peak; onset of the knee extension and ankle plantarflexion moment in the shod compared to barefoot condition was found. This appears to affect the delay in knee extension and ankle plantarflexion during late stance. This study provides a glimpse into the co-ordination of the lower limb when running in differing footwear.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Exercise; Footwear; Gait; Injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Shoes*
  • Young Adult